Women's History Month - Elizabeth Blackwell

The first woman to receive a medical degree in the US.

Queen Ranavalona III of Madagascar

The last Ruler of Madagascar.

She's Crafty - Microscopic Edition!

Some really cool science inspired crafts!

Happy Birthday - Septima Poinsette Clark

The "Queen Mother" or "Grandmother of the American Civil Rights Movement."

Friday, August 1, 2014

She's Crafty - Mjolnir Edition

So I hear there's a new Thor. Cool!

Some folks seem a little confused about Thor being female. Clearly they've never met these little girls!

In honor of the newest person to be blessed with the power of Mjolnir, here's a collection of items celebrating its beauty and strength.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Happy Birthday - Geraldine Doyle

Today would have been the 90th birthday of Geraldine Hoff Doyle. If you don't know who she was, don't feel too bad. I only heard of her recently myself.

If she looks familiar, it's because she was very likely the model for the "We Can Do It!" poster.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Happy Birthday - Patricia Schroeder

Young women today look up to Wendy Davis, as well they should! In the 1970s and 80s, we had our own feminist icon in politics: Pat Schroeder.

She was the Congresswoman for Colorado for as long as I could remember. We could always rely on her to stand up for women and minorities and I'm certain whenever she was on TV our whole house went quiet.

Reading about her work prior to serving in Congress (for 24 years, starting in 1973 at the age of 32!), I learned how truly amazing her life has been.

Her father was an aviation insurance sales man, and her mother was a public school teacher. She'd been born in Portland, Oregon, but hers was a military family, and they moved between Texas, Ohio, and Iowa when she was younger.

Her determination to do something useful in life started early. Having already received her pilot's license, she put herself through college by operating a flying service, as well working as an insurance claims adjuster on the side. In 1961, she graduated magna cum laude from the University of Minnesota, with a degrees in philosophy, history and political science.

She then pursued a law degree from Harvard, where she faced a level of sexism that would make MadMen look like a cake walk. One of her professors would call the few young women in his class to the front and force them to answer all kinds of questions from the male students. The dean made his dislike of women clear at the earliest possibility. He invited all 15 of the women in the law class to attend a luncheon where he informed that when he had been forced to admit them, the increased the number of male students by the same number, because he couldn't stand to think of these ladies taking their places.

Despite suffocating level of sexism, she persevered, and graduated in 1964, at which she and her husband (a law school classmate) moved to Denver. Because she'd been told that no law firm would hire a woman, she instead took a job working for the federal government as a field attorney for the National Labor Relations Board. Two years later, she set up a private practice and began teaching law classes. It was also at this time she began volunteering as council for Planned Parenthood.

In 1972, she ran against the incumbent congressional representative for her district, and won. The media made her out to be a housewife who just one day decided to run for office. But that's probably just because at the time they just couldn't imagine a woman actually having that kind of ambition. When she went to the capital to be sworn in, people kept assuming she was "just the wife" and that her husband was there to serve. They figured it out pretty quickly, though she still had to endure sexist comments from her fellow representatives.
Claiming her seat in Congress proved thornier than the campaign. One of only 14 women in the House of Representatives, Schroeder confronted a male–dominated institution that frowned not only on her feminist agenda but on her mere presence. She likened the atmosphere there to that of “an over–aged frat house.” One male colleague remarked, “This is about Chivas Regal, thousand–dollar bills, Lear jets and beautiful women. Why are you here?” Another asked how she could be a mother of two small children and a Member of Congress at the same time. She replied, “I have a brain and a uterus and I use both.” Still another male colleague sneered, “I hope you aren’t going to be a skinny Bella Abzug!”
Source: History, Art & Archives
She didn't bother trying to hide her role as mother, and was known to carry diapers in her bag and keep crayons in her office.
“One of the problems with being a working mother, whether you’re a Congresswoman or a stenographer or whatever, is that everybody feels perfectly free to come and tell you what they think: ‘I think what you’re doing to your children is terrible.’ ‘I think you should be home.’ They don’t do that to men.”
She became the first woman to serve on the House Armed Services Committee, which was a rude awakening to the powers that be in Washington.
Infuriated that a young woman sat on his committee, Chairman F. Edward H├ębert of Louisiana, a Dixiecrat and 30–year veteran of Congress, made Schroeder share a chair with Ron Dellums, an African–American Democrat from California, during the organizational meeting for the committee. As Schroeder recalled, she and Dellums sat “cheek to cheek” because the chairman declared “that women and blacks were worth only half of one regular Member” and thus deserved only half a seat.
Source: History, Art & Archives
Schroeder and the other Democrats made sure to elect a different chairman when the time came.

In 1991, when Clarence Thomas was up for appointment to the Supreme Court, and Anita Hill (who also has a birthday today!) was trying to make her case, it was Congresswomen Patricia Schroeder, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Louise Slaughter and others who marched to the Senate and demanded they giver her a fair chance to speak.

"Chairman Biden grudgingly put her on the witness list but not in prime time. He also rejected the other women who stepped forward as witnesses. It was painful to watch the Democratic Senators on the Judiciary committee — those cowardly lions — quiver and quake. They were pitiful, and no help at all."

What I recall the most about her time in office is her work for the Family and Medical Care Leave Act, which she'd started on years before it finally passed in 1993. True to her feminist ideals, she wanted to create programs that helped balance the requirements of work and caring for family members. Many of the laws we enjoy today are a direct result of her work then.

It is our job as modern feminists to step in where she and her generation left off.
"Freedom isn't something you give to people as a wrapped up package. It's something each generation has to continue to monitor and work on all across the board."

Patricia Schroeder is in the National Women's Hall of Fame. She was honored with a Foremother Award by the National Research Center for Women and Families in 2006 for her lifetime of achievements.

So, on this, her 74th birthday, I want to say thank you. Thank you, Patricia Schroeder, for your years of service, and for being such a fantastic role model for my generation of feminists. I hope we, along with the current generation, can make you proud.

For more info:

Makers from PBS has an excellent series of clips from an interview with her: Congress's Millionaires 

Wikipedia: Patricia Schroeder

US House of Representative: History, Art & Archives Biography

National Women's History Museum: Patricia Schroeder

Politic's The Arena: Profile

You may also be interested in:

Shout out - Major Tammy Duckworth
In 2004, while studying for a Ph.D. in political science with a focus on political economy and public health in southeast Asian at Northern Illinois University, she was deployed to Iraq. On November 12, 2004, the Black Hawk helicopter she was co-piloting was hit by a rocket propelled grenade. She fought to land the helicopter as safely as possible, which she did.

Role Model - Billie Jean King
One of the things I remembered was the talk about Billie Jean King and her Battle of the Sexes with Bobby Riggs. I was only 3 when it took place, but it had a lasting effect on how women in sports were treated. At least in my world. And, as such, she was always someone I could point to as doing what she wanted anyway, what needed to be done, even when the odds were against her...

Movie Night - The Iron Lady
My more careful thoughts about the movie are a bit more complicated. It's not that I didn't enjoy the movie. I did. I liked the story. I liked the mixing of modern times in with history, and the mix of political with personal. I liked seeing the whole life of such a strong woman who influenced history. We see her as young woman starting out with passion and verve...

Shout-out: Princess Myrcella: down and out?

OK, so it's not really Princess Myrcella, obvs, but Aimee Richardson, the actress who, until recently, played her on Game of Thrones has had what is pretty much the most awesome response to being let go.

Good thing there are lots (LOTS) of things princesses can do these days, right?

(via: WinterIsComing.net)

Kickstart This!

Here's this week's list of super fantastic SRPS-approved Kickstart projects that deserve some extra attention!

Julie Beryl Olsen has written and illustrated Sucker-Punching Anorexia, a picture book about understanding eating disorders and how to beat them. As a recovered teenager herself, she's perfectly positioned to reach out to other sufferers, and speak the language they'll understand, as well as help family and friends looking for ways to help ED victims in their lives.
This book will use art, honesty, poetry, and humor to bash stereotypes, give readers an in-depth look at what it's like to have an eating disorder, explain symptoms, and provide advice on how to sucker-punch that monster on your shoulder.

We're two crazy Texas girls trying to make it to Canada for Shambhala, which is one of the most epic festivals of the summer. We've both been approved for press passes, but we need a little love to make it there without panhandling/hitch-hiking. $400 will at least cover the cost of gas on the way up there.
I know there are lots of wacky projects on Kickstarter, and I don't usually even think about considering most of them. But there's just something about this that I find kinda fun and adventurous. I don't know anything about these two young women, Maranda and Jacki, but I have to hand it to them: they're just quirky enough to get my attention.

Tara Abbamondi is a comic artist who wants to create a comic travelogue about her journey to Ireland to do further research into her ancestry. What's a comic travelogue, you ask? Good question.
For those that may not know what a comic travelogue is, it’s essentially a comic documentation of a trip taken for various reasons. Since I started drawing comics, I’ve been in love with the idea of travelogues. The idea of “tagging along” on someone’s journey of self-discovery as they travel to places they’ve never been, and sharing, in a sense, all those new experiences with them.

Kei Everet is "just a strange little creature that works freelance as an artist across the web (who) enjoys fancy beers, old cartoons and dead things." She's done the crowd-funding thing before for her Prehistoric Sticker Set, and now she's back working on Skull Creatures -- stickers again, and also buttons, magnets, postcards and charms, all with cute and gory images featuring, you guessed it: skulls.

I keep hearing from you all about The Switch, and I had to keep saying, "It's coming on a future Kickstart This! post." Well... it's finally THAT post! If you haven't already put in your contribution, please, please consider doing so! It's already funding, but their stretch goals are just as awesome, and just as important.

Help us tear down the socially-constructed walls that limit trans actors and creators from telling our own stories and representing ourselves in TV and film.
Yes! Having the opportunity and platform to tell our own stories and finding representation in TV and film is something I think we can all get behind!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Quote of the Day

You really, really don't.

You Don't Have to Be Pretty. You don't owe prettiness to anyone. Not to your boyfriend/spouse/partner, not to your co-workers, especially not to random men on the street. You don't owe it to your mother, you don't owe it to your children, you don't owe it to civilization in general. Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked "female".
This fantastic quote comes from Erin McKean, the fabulously crafty and smart seamstress and blogger over at A Dress A Day, in a great post about the concept of prettiness. Go read it now!